Leah & Michael’s Humanist Elopement in the John Muir Grove

“My family arrived yesterday from the States, so everyone is overly Covid tested, vaccinated and ready to go 😂”

That was the email Leah sent me the day before her wedding to Michael, and I remember thinking that she was remarkably relaxed considering what was happening all around us…

We were still in the middle of the pandemic.

There were so many things we couldn’t do, but Leah & Michael’s response was brilliant. They turned negatives into positives.

First of all, they chose to get married out of doors, in the beautiful John Muir Grove at the Royal Botanical Garden in Edinburgh.

That meant they could have their families with them, which was the most important thing of all.

And although their friends couldn’t be there in person, Leah and Michael used technology to make them feel part of it.

They all got to watch via a live link.

Better still, Leah and Michael asked everyone present not only to share their thoughts about the meaning of marriage but also to offer them a wish for the future.

They started with their parents, Sherry and George, and Joan and John, all of whom have been married for more than 40 years, and they went on to include contributions from everyone there; Blake & Tiff, George & Rikki, Sarah & Mike and Jen & Darren.

Inviting your guests to contribute makes them an important part of the ceremony.

It turns them from spectators into participants, and it generates a feeling of togetherness that you’ll never forget.

Michael and Leah made sure the kids were involved too.

His niece and nephew, Matilda and Walter, were the ring bearers.

They really enjoyed being part of the ceremony!

It was such a relaxed ceremony that for once I took a few photos of my own!

It was so lovely seeing Leah and Michael speaking to their friends back in the USA.

And it all got even better at the end of the ceremony when Leah and Michael decided to have their first dance right there and then!

It didn’t take long before everyone was joining in, thanks to singer/guitarist Big Stu

I was very touched to get an email from Leah the other day.

It was lovely to take a moment to reflect on our wedding

What immediately comes to mind was how intimate and meaningful it was based on your suggestions of including our family to share their perspectives and be a part of the day. 

We have been to several weddings since, and although they were beautiful, they felt sort of like going through the motions and “getting through the formalities” as quickly as possible. 

Thanks again for everything you did to “kick things off” in a way that was really meaningful and memorable to us both. 

I’ll take the compliment, Leah, but really it was all down to you and Michael – and your families.

I can’t remember the last time I felt a wedding just ‘go with the flow’ the way yours did!

I think photographer Lauren Elliott really captured that laidback mood don’t you?

She wrote her own post about the day too, and you can read it here.

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